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Lifelong learning for educators

20 March 2018

As you progress in your career, the skills you develop from your work experience are undoubtedly critical. Yet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your education is over after you finish high school or your undergraduate degree. Indeed, one of the most attractive parts of completing your studies is the idea that you don’t need to learn anything else.

However, it’s becoming more clear that those who go on to make the largest impact in their field often take a lifelong approach to learning, constantly improving themselves and encouraging those around them to do the same. This is particularly relevant in teaching and the education sector.

As a primary school principal, wife and mother, SCU student Aleasa Brink believes modelling lifelong learning every day in her personal and professional life is extremely important. Here’s why.

Progress your career, while you learn

Aleasa sees the reciprocal benefits of studying while working. Her coursework is aligning closely with real-world contexts. Additionally, there is synergy between the assignments in her course and what she’s working on within her school setting.

“It’s quite relevant; the learning that I’m doing through study is helping with my work and my work is helping with my study,” she says.

Within her school, Aleasa reviews professional learning, sets goals and targets annually. She found that the readings and content from the unit, Leading Professional Learning, related directly to her work. She was able to put into practice the ideas and philosophies that were discussed in the coursework. A critical component of lifelong learning is ensuring that what you’re studying is not an overwhelming load on top of what you’re doing at work, they must both complement each other.

“Finding a course that’s going to complement what you’re doing [...] it really fits in seamlessly with what I’m already doing, and enhances that.”

Tips for encouraging lifelong learning

Aleasa strongly recommends finding a course that’s right for you and to just have a go! It can be surprising how much time you can find in a week to dedicate to further learning, it’s simply about losing the fear of failure and any inhibitions you may have. Those who acknowledge their limitations will embrace the need to learn, ask questions and easily pick up new skills.

If you’re a busy person, you will be able to fit online study into your life. Quoting a former principal from her early career, Aleasa says: “the busy people are the ones who get things done – they intuitively know how to make time and prioritise”. Ensure that you remain organised, write lists and keep on top of your school and personal commitments - whether that’s catching up on readings, marking homework, or setting aside some well-deserved family time on the weekend.

Lifelong learning is essential in the field of education. Setting an example for your students and fellow teaching staff will help instil these values in them, leading to better outcomes.

Aleasa Brink is a current Southern Cross University online Master of Education student. To learn more about studying your Masters online and how you can fit it into your busy schedule, speak to our Enrolment team on 1300 589 882.